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US withdraws funding for Haitian elections

Interim President Jocelerme Privert Interim President Jocelerme Privert
WASHINGTON, Jul 8, CMC – The United States says it will suspend funding to Haiti for the upcoming round of presidential and legislative elections schedule for October even as Washington emphasised that the suspension should not be seen as a “reduction in US support for the development of Haiti.”

John Kirby, the State Department spokesman said the United States had informed Haiti of the decision on July 1 that Washington was suspending “its assistance toward the completion of the presidential electoral process.

“We did not plan funding for two more electoral rounds in 2016 and 2017,” he added.

Haitian lawmakers are yet to agree on whether they will extend the term of Interim President Jocelerme Privert, who came to office under the so-called February 5 agreement that was brokered after then President Michel Marelly left office without a successor being elected.

Under the terms of the agreement, Parliament had to elect an interim president for a term of 120 days and confirm a consensus prime minister.

Continuation of the elections process to the second round was scheduled to take place on April 24 and the new president, elected by that process, would have been installed on May 14, 2016.

But the election has not taken place and is now most likely to be held on October 9 and if a candidate does not receive the necessary amount of votes to prevent a second round, then that will take place on January 8, 2017 and the final election results will be published January 30, next year.

The October elections would also include voting for one-third of the Senate.

The United States contributed US$33 million to the electoral cycle in Haiti that started in 2015. The new 2016-2017 electoral costs are estimated at US$$55 million.

But the President of the newly revamped Provisional Electoral Council (CEP), Léopold Berlanger, said that “it is the responsibility of the State to provide these resources”.

A total of 27 presidential candidates are now expected to run in the October poll.

Last month, Kenneth Merten, the U.S. State Department’s special coordinator for Haiti, said Washington was “disappointed” with the decision to redo the vote.

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